When I think of Helenes traditions, what floods my mind is not rocking formal uniform the first Wednesday of every month, waking up early to put pom-poms on every single seat of the student section during Gatecall or handing out cookies on Trousdale to celebrate USC’s birthday October 6th of every year. The Helenes tradition that is most special to me is the unconditional love that emanates from every single Helene past and present.
If you ask any Helene what drew them to the organization, there is a very high chance that their answer will sound something like, “Helenes are the kind of people who love you on your worst day just as much as they do on your best day.” I can say without a doubt that my life has been changed by Energizer Bunny-esque capacity Helenes have for love and positivity.
One perfect example is the Friendship Book, a scrapbook that allows one Helene to share messages of gratitude and support with another Helene who has impacted her. The following week, the Helene who received the message has an opportunity to continue the “love train” (shout out to the O’Jays) by sharing a message with another Helene. When I look around the room at our weekly meetings, my heart feels so full knowing that every single woman in Helenes has made a genuine impact on me in one way or another.
I have always believed in the power of positive energy. Being a Helene has not only confirmed what I have always believed: No individual or group is too small to make an impact. The words of author and artist Doe Zantamata beautifully illustrate the power Helenes has to affect change on our campus and in our city: “In a world full of fear, be courageous. In a world full of lies, be honest. In a world, where few care, be compassionate. In a world full of phonies, be yourself. Because the world sees you. The world hopes for you. The world is inspired by you. The world can be better because of you.” If nothing else, my world is better because of Helenes, and I am hopeful that Helenes will continue to inspire a movement of love as it has for the past 95 years.